"Obviously these teapots aren't from the Qing dynasty, but in terms of appearance they look about on par with the other sub $100 pots I've seen. It says they've been cleaned and are ready to use, so how bad can they really be? Besides, I like that there are alot of smaller (~120ml) pots to choose from and the variety is better than that of Yunnan Sourcing. And someone lead tested one of them, they must be completely safe!!!(sic)"
With that being my line of thinking, I took the plunge and ordered two, each costing about $25. After placing the order I had some regret, and decided to contact 5000friend and ask them up front about the quality of their pots.
I'm interested in buying teapots from you, but I've noticed that on many websites people claim that you make your pots look older by using "shoe polish" etc. I have a couple of questions:
1) Do you purposely make your tea pots look older than they really are by adding something to the surface?
2) Do your pots come clean and ready to safely brew tea to drink?
"Great!" I thought, and felt a little more comfortable with my purchase.Hello,
Have a nice day! I have do business in ebay about seven years,and few buyer claim that I make pots look older by using "shoe polish" etc. I don't purposely make tea pots look older ,and I clean teapot instead of add "shoe polish" for safely brew tea .And buyer can clean teapots again thoroughly if they are strict with tea.
It is easy to identify "shoe polish" etc , the teapot smell unsavory.
On Friday I received my pots, and I have to tell you we must have VERY different versions of "safely brew tea" and "clean" because what I received was nothing short of horrifying. Both had noticeable rings at varying heights inside, from either water, tea, tea leaves, or who knows what, that had been resting for who knows how long in the pot. Both pots had a lot of organic matter build up in various places as well. I really wish I would have taken "before" photos of the pots, because they really were nasty, no one would EVER brew tea in these pots as I received them, despite the description on ebay stating: "Teapot has been cleaned in hot water,can use it directly."
Needless to say, I was feeling kind of ripped off at that point. I knew it was a bit of a gamble, but because I liked the size and shape of the pots and I couldn't find comparable wares anywhere else I was bummed that I might not be able to use them.
I started scouring teachat, marshaln's blog, and google, for answers. One of the pots had a pretty "unsavory" smell, and the other had an odd mineral buildup on the inside. Armed with some knowledge, I got to work...
1) I boiled both pots for about an hour.
2) I cut up a new "scotch brite" pad and tested it on the bottom of one of the pots.... no scratches! I scrubbed them inside thoroughly with a wet section of the pad. This got off a decent amount of the grime, but no luck at all on the mineral deposit area.
3) The next day, I went to the store and picked up some bleach. Mixed 1 cap load with one gallon of water and let the pots soak for a good 3-4 hours. This really cleaned up the pots, a couple spots that I couldn't reach well with the scotch brite were totally clean, including inside the spout and the chop mark. Unfortunately the bleach did absolutely nothing for the mineral deposits. I boiled the pots for an hour to get the residual bleach smell out, and it worked fine- no bleachy odor, and one of the pots at this point is totally to a level where I'd comfortably drink from it after seasoning.
4) Before moving to some sort of acid to break down the mineral deposit, I decided to attack it with some steel wool. This really worked! The clay is quite resilient, because I can't notice it being scratched by the steel wool. After putting some good elbow grease into it, the mineral crystallization is mostly removed, but in it's wake there is a a bit of a stain that looks a little "chalky" so I think there are still some minerals in there. Maybe I should have attacked it with the steel wool prior to bleaching... oh well. I kind of want to try citric acid on this pot, because the inside is generally a bit "chalky" looking compared to the outside. Have to do some more research... but I'm pretty confident that I'll be able to get it drinkable.
Today, after spending half a weekend on this, I'm actually quite happy with the pots. I think I'll be comfortable drinking from both of them. That being said, part of me wishes I would have taken the nearly $100 and just waited for something good to show on jing's or another reputable vendor. I also think it is kind of bogus to market the pots as being directly usable, I don't think everyone ordering would be prepared to spend the time as I did to clean up the pots.
I'll post some pictures another time, but to me the clay actually looks pretty decent, much more similar to the zhuni reference photos I've seen compared to my $30 yunnan sourcing pots which must use more modern clay (but I'm still very happy with them, and didn't have to kill almost an entire day cleaning them...).
Just thought I'd give my $0.02 for anyone debating about purchasing like I me, and also to give a rundown of my cleaning methods for input. I think some people might cringe at the steel wool and scotch brite, but honestly they didn't scratch the pot at all and in the case of the mineral deposit I felt it was more or less a "last resort" but if anyone has any ideas about it please let me know, I think citric acid might be the way to go....